Horticulture Programs

The MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture team provides Michigan residents with researched-based information to properly manage their home environment (lawns, gardens, landscapes and ornamentals). The Leelanau County MSU Extension office assists county residents with utilizing Extension resources to better diagnose plant diseases, insect & weed identification, fertilizer recommendations, pest problems, landscape questions, seeding & lawn maintenance, and more! Read on to find out about all of the resources available.

Pollinator Prime Time Recordings

These 10-minute family-friendly presentations are a great way to get your family excited and learning about pollinator conservation. Originally broadcast during National Pollinator Week (2020), you can watch the recordings by clicking here. Each evening's presentation featured a different topic from an MSU Extension researcher or educator.


Monday 6/22/20 – Bees in the City with David Lowenstein

Tuesday 6/23/20 – Meet the Beetle Pollinators with Nate Walton

Wednesday 6/24/20 – Bees of Michigan with Kelsey Graham

Thursday 6/25/20 – World’s Weirdest Bees with Jenna Walters

Friday 6/26/20 – Seven Simple Steps to Save the Bees with Nate Walton

About the Experts: 

Dr. David Lowenstein

David is an entomologist with a background in invasive species, integrated pest management, and urban agriculture. He is an extension educator in Macomb County and most fond of bees and wasps.

Dr. Kelsey Graham

Dr. Graham is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Entomology at MSU. Her research focuses on the conservation of wild bees and other beneficial insects on farms through the development of pest management programs that minimize risks to bees while improving crop production.

Jenna Walters

Jenna is a pollination ecologist working on her Master's degree at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the impacts of extreme heat on crop pollination and native bee health, but in her off time, you can find her hiking around Lansing taking pictures of bees and flowers. 

Dr. Nate Walton

Nate is an entomologist with a passion for pollinators, gardening, and local food. He enjoys teaching adults and youth of all ages on subjects such as plant pathogens, environmental stewardship, and pollinator conservation.


Lawn and Garden Q&A - Wednesdays live via Zoom

Throughout the growing season, MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers will be available live via Zoom every Wednesday to answer your lawn and garden questions. They will help you with diagnosing lawn and garden problems, vegetable garden advice, and insect and plant identification.  To ask your questions, all you have to do is join the Zoom meeting between the hours of 11 am and 1 pm on any Wednesday. You will be taken to a virtual waiting room momentarily before meeting with the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.  The Zoom meeting link to join is https://msu.zoom.us/j/210151959?pwd=elMwbWp5cDdjMkJHNG03Z0h6ZW84dz09  or you can join by phone, by calling (312) 626 6799 and entering the Zoom meeting ID 210-151-959 and the password 1914.   For more information, please contact Nate Walton, MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Program Instructor at 231-256-9888 x 323 or waltonn2@msu.edu

Simple Vegetable Garden Plans

These plans can be used by both beginners and experienced gardeners. The plants suggested have been specially selected to not only feed your family, but also can be donated to food pantries to fill the need for “staples” - fresh vegetables most likely to be used and that can store better if they are not used right away. 

Short Helpful Vegetable Gardening Videos: Gardening for Beginners (MSU Mediaspace)


Toll-free Lawn & Garden Hotline (888-MSUE4MI)

Contact MSU Extension's state-wide hotline for any of your gardening-related question by dialing 1-888-678-3464 (1-888-MSUE-4MI).

Take a Soil Sample and Have the Results Interpreted

The first step to growing and maintaining a healthy lawn and garden is getting to know your soil! Soil Test Kit Mailers are available at the MSU Extension office (after the Executive Order expires on May 15th) and cost $25 (this includes shipping).   Or you can purchase a soil test online to be shipped to your home at shop.msu.edu.  (Click on "MSU Extension Bookstore", and type Soil Test in the search bar.)   Each kit contains instructions on how to gather samples. You will receive a 6-character code via email to be able to interpret your soil test results (msusoiltest.com) and find specific recommendations based off the crops types of your interest.

"Gardening in Michigan" website

This website (migarden.msu.edu) is full of resources to get you growing this season. Topics covered include Vegetables, Fruit, Flowers, Trees/Shrubs, Lawns/Grass, Soil, Water, Plant Problems and Preservation.

Smart Gardening Initiative

Become a Smart Gardener by creating Smart Soils, Smart Plants, and Smart Lawns. Stop by our office for hard copies of twenty different tip sheets to help you save time and money while protecting the environment this season.

Local Diagnostics Clinic

Drop samples off at the Leelanau County MSU Extension office during office hours. (after the Executive Order expires on May 28th - use the Lawn and Garden Q&A above in the meantime.)  Samples will be taken for evaluation by our Consumer Hort Program Instructor or Extension Master Gardener Volunteers.

Become a MSU Extension certified Master Gardener

Help people and communities grow! Lend a hand to the MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture team's effort to get the word out about research-based, environmentally sound gardening practices. Interested individuals get the chance to take a focus, 13-week training course and engage in a community-outreach, horticulture-related volunteer project. To find out about the next local training class see our Leelanau County Master Gardener page or visit the state-wide Master Gardener Program website for more information.